Effort to Unseat Sinanyan Fails


Glendale City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan addresses the City Council on Tuesday

Sinanyan, Public and Councilmembers Question Timing and Motives Behind the Motion

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

GLENDALE—The Glendale City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to table a motion to remove Glendale City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan from the Glendale Community Development Block Grant Advisory Board after public speakers and city council members called into question the timing of the effort to unseat the long-time commissioner.

The effort to strip Sinanyan of his commission seat was being led by Councilmember Laura Friedman, herself a candidate in the elections. In making the motion at the previous council session on March 5, she cited emails she had received alleging that Sinanyan has authored online comments on various platforms such as YouTube that were deemed racist and misogynistic. The comments attributed to Sinanyan were generally in response to violent, offensive and racist remarks against Armenians by people aggressively denying the Armenian Genocide.

In remarks in front of city council members and an overflow audience during Tuesday’s session, Sinanyan called into question the timing of this “well-orchestrated, well financed and long term effort,” which he said had an “ultimate goal of forcing me out of this race.”

Sinanyan expressed outrage that fellow candidate Friedman, guided by the organizers of the smear campaign would use the council dais to advance her own candidacy.

“In a blatant disregard for ethical standards and City Council’s own rule against using the City Council meetings for electioneering purposes, Laura Friedman made the motion for no other reason than to hurt and eliminate someone she perceived to be her political rival, someone who had raised far more funds than her, and had as many if not more political endorsements as her,” said Sinanyan.

“I am being asked about and will be asked in the future, and will not allow you or anyone else to keep dragging me back to City Council to confirm or refute the origin of the subsequent batches of such statements and continue to try to further disrupt my campaign,” said Sinanyan referring to online threats by anonymous sources to release more materials attributed to him in this ongoing smear campaign.

“The words attributed to me are not me. They do not represent who I am as a person. They do not reflect my values, my ideals, my way of life. Anyone who knows me knows this to be true. And I am humbled by the fact that there is a room full of people that will attest to that,” emphasized Sinanyan.

“In the end, those who believe that these statements are me, and that they are reflective of my personality, will simply not vote for me, and American Democracy will prevail one way or another,” added Sinanyan saying his record of public service, including six years on different city commission, speaks for itself. He urged the city council and the residents of Glendale to return to the discussion of the issues at the center of the April 2 election.

One by one, speakers from the audience forcefully commented against efforts to smear Sinanyan and pointed to Freidman’s incessant attempts to discredit his candidacy. No one spoke against Sinanyan.

In commentary at the meeting, Friedman expressed disappointment that she was being attacked, but angrily pressed Sinanyan about whether he had actually written any of the comments attributed to him—a point that Sinanyan had repeatedly addressed during comments and responses to other questions.

Citing the fact that Rep. Adam Schiff and LA City Councilman Paul Krekorian had already rescinded their endorsements of Sinanyan, she brought up the issue out of responsibility at a city official.

Friedman then proceeded to read Rep. Schiff’s statement, which later Councilmember Rafi Manoukian said was taken out of context and demonstrated that Rep. Schiff had not taken the allegations against Sinanyan at face value.

“We certainly hope that this is not the case, and that he has no connection to the vile comments that are being attributed to him,” said a note sent to Sinanyan’s campaign last week from Rep. Schiff’s office. “Until this matter is resolved, however, Mr. Schiff must withdraw his endorsement.”

Manoukian also warned about making hasty decisions in such instances, advising that “whenever there is an issue like this, it’s better to pick up the phone to call.”

Manoukian said that it was inappropriate to bring this issue to City Council three weeks prior to the elections.

“I think this is a political hit. I don’t know if Ms. Friedman did it purposefully or she was coaxed into doing it… I don’t know her motivations because I haven’t talked to her, but it’s certainly—completely—uncalled for three weeks before the election and it should not be even discussed in this council,” said Manoukian.

“When we talk about electioneering, this is the worst kind of electioneering in my opinion,” he added.

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones. I hope that my fellow Council members don’t continue this type of questioning because I will make other things public that they will be very upset about,” said Manoukian who also warned that attacks such as the one on Sinanyan have rippling affects on a person’s personal and business lives.

He also said that the atmosphere of attacks and smear campaigns will deter future young Glendale residents to seek public office.

“That is going to discourage, in the future, individuals—young individuals—who are active in the community, like Mr. Sinanyan, like his spouse, like many of the individuals who are here today to run for council because they are going to be afraid that someone is going to make something up and bring it up and smear them with it couple of weeks before the campaign,” explained Manoukian. “Who would run for election then? Who would want to run for City Council against the incumbents when that sort of tactic is being used in an election?”

Councilmember Dave Weaver said he had received a copy of the anonymous emails from fellow councilmember Ara Najarian half hour prior to last week’s session. Najarian seconded Friedman’s motion last week.

“I couldn’t fathom whether any of this is true or not,” said Weaver. “I don’t care to vote yes or no because I don’t have all the answers. I hate to see anybody’s character impugned.”

Najarian explained that the importance for Sinanyan to come forward to address the allegations prompted him to second the motion during the previous City Council session. He revealed that he had phoned Sinanyan to urge him to resign his position as commissioner, but did not discuss the specifics of the matter with him.

After pressing Sinanyan for explanations that he had already provided, Najarian concluded that “personally I don’t have enough information to make a decision. I don’t have enough information to remove Mr. Sinanyan,” said Najarian at the close of his comments.

Mayor Frank Quintero said when he first read the anonymous email, he was stunned since he had known Sinanyan and had observed his performance in various commissions.

He urged Sinanyan to investigate the matter.

“The election will take care of everything,” Weaver said at the conclusion of the agenda item.

8 Responses

for “Effort to Unseat Sinanyan Fails”

  1. hagop hagopian says:

    Shame on you Councilmember Paul Krekorian, for withdrawing your endorsement for Mr. Sinanyan. By your withdrawl you have condone the turks who insulted Mr. Sinanyan.

  2. Bob the Armenian says:

    So let me get this straight – hackers can easily compromise the bank accounts of Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Glendale’s own Kim Kardashian, but when it comes to Zareh Sinanyan, there is no possible way that his youtube account was compromised in any way. Zareh has all the hackers stumped! LOL. I do not trust anything I see online because everything can be doctored…. photos, documents, email accounts, etc. Even things that you think are 100% real can be faked. Just recently I had a virus that sent my entire contact list the most vile and pornographic email solicitation from me. Does that mean I sent it? Thank goodness I wasn’t a city commissioner running against Laura Friedman. If she determined in her mind that I sent it, she would have called me in for hearings and smeared my name around town. The bigger issue is why did Laura Friedman waste taxpayer dollars to haul in a political opponent based on blog gossip to grill him in front of the TV cameras? How arrogant is she to think she could judge what’s real or not and recklessly damage someone’s reputation in the process? McCarthyism much? Ever heard of innocent until proven guilty? This is a total abuse of power and completely unethical and inappropriate. It was designed to help her campaign, hurt Zareh, and to intimidate any potential opponents in the future. Doesn’t she realize that since Sinanyan is her biggest rival in the election that her kangaroo court hearing will create the appearance that it’s politically motivated? Shouldn’t she have recused herself from the meeting since she has a financial interest in winning re-election? The city council should have an ordinance where 30 or 60 days before an election, they should not be able to use the dais to interfere with political opponents. Seriously… they agendized this on the day they received the allegations without doing any due diligence? According to Weaver they received the information 30 minutes before last week’s council meeting. I’ve never seen the city council act this quickly on anything. It usually takes them weeks and months to put things on the agenda. Why the emergency? How long had Laura Friedman been holding this information to release right before the election? I wish they would react this quickly when I call to complain about potholes. So Zareh Sinanyan does not owe Laura Friedman anything, especially access to his google accounts. The next thing you know she is going to ask for his campaign plan and request to monitor your campaign headquarters. What a joke. However, can’t the citizens submit a public information act request to look at her city emails? It would be interesting to find out how long she has been coordinating this attack with the blog and whether she has been using her government email account to do it. She is a bully and unethical and this whole thing stinks. She is throwing her weight around and the weight of the city and its resources to get an advantage on Sinanyan in the election. They should investigate if her actions in conducting this kangaroo court have violated any county or state election laws and pursue charges against her vigorously if she has. Usually the media does this kind of oversight but the local rag – the Glendale Snooze Press is in the tank for her and an extension of her propaganda arm. If I were Zareh Sinanyan I would never talk to them – they have demonstrated that they blindly take orders from Laura Friedman-McCarthy and they will twist and turn whatever Sinanyan says to accommodate Friedman’s orders. Why aren’t they covering the political or the conflict of interest angle of this story? Why have they failed to do an investigation of Friedman-McCarthy’s ties to ADI and John Drayman? And by the way, why was the community so caught off guard by the Drayman indictment? Had the Glendale Snooze Press done it’s job, they would have dug into his shady connections and contributions with ADI and with the farmer’s market way before things exploded. But if you don’t have an “IAN” at the end of your name the Glendale Snooze Press hits the snooze button and will not investigate you unless indictments are handed down. But if you do have the “IAN” they will allege that the erectile dysfunction email that came from your email address came from you. How could it not it’s from your email address?! There is absolutely no benefit of the doubt for us, but when Drayman and Friedman are receiving money hand over fist from ADI, they are being duped by the mean developers! The Snooze Press has lost all credibility and trust with the community by their biased reporting – just like Laura Friedman has. This culture of corruption in Glendale must end and hopefully the voters will sweep her out of office as they did her corrupt pal last election. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    By the way, here is the state’s conflict of interest law… § 87105. Manner of Disqualification.
    (a) A public official who holds an office specified in Section 87200 who has a financial interest in a decision within the meaning of Section 87100 shall, upon identifying a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest and immediately prior to the consideration of the matter, do all of the following:
    (1) Publicly identify the financial interest that gives rise to the conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest in detail sufficient to be understood by the public, except that disclosure of the exact street address of a residence is not required.
    (2) Recuse himself or herself from discussing and voting on the matter, or otherwise acting in violation of Section 87100.
    (3) Leave the room until after the discussion, vote, and any other disposition of the matter is concluded, unless the matter has been placed on the portion of the agenda reserved for uncontested matters.
    (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a public official described in subdivision (a) may speak on the issue during the time that the general public speaks on the issue.
    (b) This section does not apply to Members of the Legislature.
    History: Added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 233.
    References at the time of publication (see page 3):
    Regulations: 2 Cal. Code of Regs. Section 18702

  3. Zareh says:

    I would not be surprised if the Azerbaijani and Turkish consulates in L.A. have a dirty hand in this matter through their agent, Ms. Friedman.

  4. anna says:

    So there are such traitors among us like Ara Najarian…I hope people don’t vote for him after this no matter what. I think his position of double standard showed what he is all about. Can’t stand traitor Armenians…….as for Sinanyan..i am not familiar with any of the positions of the candidates but very glad to hear that Sinanyan prevailed! Congrats to him…hope he now knows who is who in the Armenian community….there is a Russian word we Armenians from Armenia use and it is “deshovka” and this is exactly what najarian turned out to be.

  5. Lilit says:

    We should pull her criminal records, it will be surprising what we will find! Mr. F will be busted!

  6. Satenik says:

    Great ! The truth prevailed!

  7. Garo Avedis says:

    Here is another ill compaign to devide the Armenian vote.

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